Presses Remain the Key Attraction at drupa and in 2008 Printers will not be Disappointed
For MAN Roland and KBA that next step is about running set up processes in parallel through placing individual motors on plate cylinders to allow these to turn independently of the press. This means that all plates can be changed simultaneously and that several steps - blanket wash and plate change for example - can take place at the same time rather than in sequence. Dr Markus Rall, MAN Roland sheetfed press director, says that with DirectDrive, plate change time is no longer relevant. “We can cut down make ready time by making processes like blanket washing and pre-inking happen in parallel. A plate change time of one minute is not a relevant factor any longer. DirectDrive gives us the highest productivity to cope with short run printing.
Value through added services
“All printers have demanding customers so need faster make ready, they need to deliver the quality and to produce the job more cheaply. Printers also have to be more than just printing houses and have to differentiate themselves through becoming service providers.”
This element emerges as another key theme for drupa that of value added production. For printers that need to offer the fastest turnarounds on short run work, the automation offered by MAN Roland’s DirectDrive, Mitsubishi’s SimulChanger and KBA’s DriveTronic will be needed. For other printers the need is to deliver a greater choice to the print buyer through additional colours, coatings and varnishes as a means of establishing a difference between one printer and the next. And where possible the different production steps need to happen at the same time as printing. This is leading to presses with more than one coating unit and associated dryers and to presses able to print on a greater range of materials. Inline foiling is an option for adding greater value to the printed sheet that is increasingly offered. A glue is applied to the sheet in one print unit and the foil is applied by the next, adhering to the image where glue has been laid down. If a foil is too much, printing with metallic inks to create different effects to enhance litho printing is increasing in popularity. One reason may be that digital printing machines cannot offer this kind of flexibility.